TBO.com: Tampa Bay Online.
Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017

Trout fishing on fire in the area

GO FISHING is a look at the area fishing scene through the eyes of local charter boat captains and fishing guides. Today: Mike Anderson, right, with "Reel Animals" partner Billy Nobles. We are experiencing arguably the best trout fishing I have ever seen on the west coast of Florida. Not only are we catching good numbers of 20-plus inch trout, but also we're finding massive schools of 14- to 16-inch fish in 4-6 feet of water that will be our big fish next year. Live shrimp are working well as are scaled sardines, and a pinfish under a popping cork is never a bad choice if you are fishing for that speckled trout of a lifetime.
On the artificial side, topwater plugs early in the morning have been working great. The Strike King KVD Sexy Dawg has been on fire. This bait has a built-in rattle that big trout are jumping all over, especially first thing in the morning. On the soft plastic side, Strike King's Redfish Magic Glass Minnows have been our bait of choice. If redfish are your thing, check the docks on these full moon low tides, as we have found all sizes inhabiting the docks this week. A live shrimp tail hooked on a 1/4-ounce jig head worked well all week. Check those docks adjacent to or not far from big flats. The redfish will seek deeper water on these low tides. We also caught several big sheepshead while working the dock lines, which is a good sign for great fishing into the new year. Usually January and February are my favorite trout months, but I'm not sure it can get much better than it is right now.

Catch Billy Nobles and Mike Anderson on the "Reel Animals Fishing Show" on Saturdays from 6:30-7 a.m. on WFLA, Ch. 8, and from 6-9 a.m. on 970 AM, and on Sundays from 7-9 a.m. on 620 AM. To book a charter, call 1-866-GAMEFISH or visit reelanimalsfishingshow.com.